Sneha Girap (Editor)

Phil Collen

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Birth name  Philip Kenneth Collen
Years active  1974–present
Genres  Hard rock, heavy metal
Labels  Mercury

Name  Phil Collen
Instruments  Guitar, vocals
Children  Rory James Collen
Phil Collen Phil Collen of Def Leppard amp The Manchester Derby

Born  8 December 1957 (age 65) Hackney, London, England (1957-12-08)
Role  Guitarist ·
Music groups  Def Leppard (Since 1982), Man Raze, Girl
Spouse  Helen L. Simmons (m. 2010), Anita Thomas (m. 1999–2010), Jacqueline Collen (m. 1990–1995)
Albums  Adrenalize, Hysteria, Pyromania, Vault: Def Leppard Greatest, Best of Def Leppard
Similar People  Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, Vivian Campbell, Rick Allen, Steve Clark

Occupation(s)  Guitarist, songwriter

Jackson guitars phil collen pc1 signature artist model demo

Philip Kenneth Collen (born 8 December 1957) is an English musician. He is the lead guitarist and former rhythm guitarist for the rock band Def Leppard. He joined the band in 1982 following the departure of Pete Willis.


Phil Collen Def Leppard39s Phil Collen 102015 965 WKLH

Phil collen demos the limited edition pc1 ninja

Early years

Phil Collen 10 questions Phil Collen MusicRadar

Phillip Kenneth Collen was born in Hackney, London, England. He got his first guitar from his cousin David Pilley, who said Collen "used to just sit in his bedroom just playing it". Then, at the age of 16, Collen got his first guitar [a second "first guitar"] (a red Gibson SG), taught himself how to play, and left school to pursue a career in music. He then joined a line-up of early bands including Lucy, Tush, Dumb Blondes, and Girl. During his tenure with Girl, Collen's career began rising, spurred by the relative success of the albums Sheer Greed and Wasted Youth, which allowed Collen the opportunity to play at more significant venues.

Phil Collen httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommons99

A young Phil Collen can also be seen on the back cover of Deep Purple's live album Made in Japan as the live photo was actually taken at the Brixton Academy in London, a concert Collen attended, and not in Japan.

Phil Collen Phil Collen On Why He Went Vegetarian Vegetarian Times

In a recent interview, Collen revealed that he was approached by Steve Harris to join Iron Maiden replacing guitarist Dennis Stratton. He had turned down the offer due to musical differences. The position would eventually be filled by future guitarist Adrian Smith.

Def Leppard

Before Collen's entrance into Def Leppard on 12 July 1982 during the recording of Pyromania, he had previously been asked to consider joining the band during the 1981 tour for High 'n' Dry by Joe Elliott and Steve Clark, whom he knew at the time. Despite this invitation, there was no need to replace Pete Willis yet and as a result, Collen stayed as a member of Girl for the time being.

Recruitment and friendship with Steve Clark

After Willis was fired due to alcohol problems, Joe Elliott called and asked Collen to audition. He was asked to perform solos on the songs "Stagefright" and "Photograph" during the recording sessions of Pyromania. Soon after, Collen officially joined the band, impressing both producer Mutt Lange and the rest of the band with his guitar playing. He and fellow guitarist Clark quickly bonded, becoming close friends and leading to the trademark dual-guitar sound of Def Leppard. Collen and Clark became known as the "Terror Twins," in recognition of their talents. By this time, Collen had also become noted for his trademark bare-chested stage appearances.

Changes in lifestyle, death of Clark and Adrenalize sessions

During the 1980s, Collen quit drinking alcohol, which he had developed into a serious addiction, stopped eating meat, and adopted a generally healthy lifestyle. According to Collen, he began suffering from blackouts due to alcohol and quit when he realized that he was losing control of his addiction, which was starting to dominate his life. In contrast, Clark did not follow such standards and died due to alcohol abuse in early 1991.

After Clark died, Collen was faced with the challenge of not only dealing with the loss of a friend and bandmate, but also with the burden and responsibility of the "Adrenalize" recordings. The music had already been written, but Clark's playing style differed so much from Collen's that recording Clark's parts proved very difficult. While Clark's playing style was rhythmic, melodic, and sometimes even characterized as "sloppy," Collen's style was technical and precise, leading to difficulties in mimicking the sound of Clark's playing style. Due to the aftermath of Clark's death, as well as the issues with the recording of "Adrenalize", Collen seriously considered leaving Def Leppard. According to Joe Elliott, Collen said that he couldn't bear to play guitar anymore after Clark's death. He said, "I'd rather be a plumber."

Vivian Campbell joins

Vivian Campbell, formerly of Whitesnake, joined the band to fill the second guitar spot shortly before the Adrenalize tour and thus Collen was relieved of some of the pressures of the "overkill" production style of Def Leppard, as well as the challenge of reproducing Clark's guitar parts for live shows.


In 1989, Collen worked with Jackson Guitars to develop an ergonomically correct electric guitar, although according to Collen, he designed them because "they looked cool," and they ended up having bad balance, as well as a "really weird shape."

Recently, his live rig with Def Leppard is generally various Jackson PC1 Signature Dinky (Some are stock, some are modified in the custom shop), all equipped with Dimarzio and Floyd Rose Sustainer pickups (Except for the Supreme models). For acoustics, Collen uses several Fenders, Breedloves, and a Guild acoustic guitar. The electric guitar signal is sent, via a Shure wireless unit, to Marshall JMP 1 preamps and TC Electronic Chorus/Flanger, TC Electronic D-Two, and Alesis Midiverb effect processors. The signal is then sent through old (1980s) Randall Power Amps. Finally the signal is fed into the PA and Palmer Cabinet Simulators. For strings, Collen uses D'Addario 0.13 - 0.54 and 0.13 - 0.56 gauge strings.

Side projects

Collen has been involved in several side projects over his career, most notably the band Man Raze, formed as a joint collaboration with former Girl bandmate Simon Laffy as bassist and drummer Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols.

In 1990, Collen co-produced the On the Edge album of the Australian band BB Steal.

In 1991, Collen offered a song he had written, "Miss You In A Heartbeat" to the band The Law, which was featured on the band's self-titled album. This album was the band's only release. "Miss You In A Heartbeat" was later recorded and released by Def Leppard.

In 1993, Collen executive produced the album Sublime To The Ridiculous for the band, Sheer Greed, composed of former members of Girl, an act Collen was also associated earlier in his career.

Collen has also worked in side projects with Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott. One of these recent projects was a tribute to David Bowie and Mick Ronson. He and Elliott also joined with Trevor Bolder and Mick "Woody" Woodmansey from Spiders from Mars and keyboardist Dick Decent to form the band Cybernauts. In 2001 they released a live album of Bowie songs.

In 1996, Collen performed as a featured guitarist on the Jeffology: A Guitar Chronicle album - a tribute album to Jeff Beck. Collen performed on the single, "'Cause We've Ended As Lovers" from the album.

In 2010, Collen recorded the song "Hard Times Celebrate" with rapper Bazaar Royale, featured on the album "The Ride."

Phil Collen formed a blues project by the name of Delta Deep with vocalist Debbi Blackwell Cook which released an eponymous debut in 2015.

Personal life

Collen currently resides in Southern California, in Orange County, where he has lived for 25 years. According to Collen, "I'm almost a California native now." He has four children; Rory (born 1990), Samantha (born 2004), Savannah (born 2009), Charlotte (born 2014). He was married to Jacqueline Collen-Tarolly (1989) and Anita Thomas-Collen (1999). He married actress costume designer Helen L. Simmons in 2010.

Collen is a vegan and has worked with PETA to promote meat free lifestyles. Collen is also colourblind..

Collen has been training extensively in martial arts for over twenty years. He began his martial arts training in Wado-Ryu Karate, earning a 2nd-dan black belt. He also has studied kickboxing under legendary fighter Benny Urquidez and Muay Thai.

With Girl

  • Sheer Greed
  • Wasted Youth
  • Killing Time
  • Live at the Marquee
  • With Def Leppard

  • Pyromania (1983)
  • Hysteria (1987)
  • Adrenalize (1992)
  • Retro Active (1993)
  • Slang (1996)
  • Euphoria (1999)
  • X (2002)
  • Yeah! (2006)
  • Songs from the Sparkle Lounge (2008)
  • Mirror Ball – Live & More (2011)
  • Viva! Hysteria (2013)
  • Def Leppard (2015)
  • With Man Raze

  • Surreal (2008)
  • PunkFunkRootsRock (2011)
  • With Delta Deep

  • Delta Deep (2015)
  • References

    Phil Collen Wikipedia